AN AREA of Delph land could be turned into a kennels and cattery run by an animal charity if planning permission is granted.
If it Is refused, ‘a number of dogs will be put down.’
Pennine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) wants to convert an existing stable block at the junction of Hill Top Lane and Badger End Lane into kennels.
It has also applied to Oldham Council to construct a cattery building, form a parking and turning area with new access from Hill Top Lane, replace fencing and site a mobile home to provide essential care and supervision of the animals.
Having been set up in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, in 2007, PAWS is looking for a new base after being unexpectedly evicted from its base, leaving in July.
And it sees the area of land in Delph, which is technically in the green belt, as the only place it can continue.
Documents state: “PAWS was not able to secure alternative accommodation.
“They really were desperate and were running out of all hope. However, they have now managed to secure the application site.
“PAWS desperately needs the use of this land. It has nowhere else to go. Should permission be refused again this will have very significant consequences for PAWS and the services it provides.
“Many dogs would also be put down as a result as there are not enough places to house them.”
In PAWS’ plans, the existing stable block will be converted to form eight kennels and will have modest extensions to its front and rear, forming an access corridor and a food preparation and storage area.
The cattery building would comprise 10 bays for the cats, including three isolation units, a small incidental office and associated corridors.
PAWS say the mobile home, ‘is essential to provide necessary security and supervision of the animals and measures.’
Proposed visitor parking and turning area, with appointments strictly by appointment only, will be located off the entrance.
The use would require the full time supervision by one staff member, with further part-time staff and volunteers when required.
Currently, the area is used as grazing land for a horse and a pony and PAWS will let them continue should planning permission be granted.
And in more emotional testimony, it appealed to Oldham Council’s planning committee to look on them favourably, even though the land is in the green belt, which can be developed on if there are ‘very special circumstances.’
It adds in it supporting statement: “2.7 million animals enter UK shelters every year and PAWS has continually had a huge waiting list to rehome animals, covid exacerbating the position.
“The charity has rescued and rehomed more than 1,500 animals and offers pets a second chance at a happy and fulfilled life with a new family.
“As well as providing for the animals, PAWS also runs lots of events throughout the year. The charity not only helps animals, it helps people, and fosters a strong sense of community.
“The overarching very special circumstance is that PAWS has done everything in its power to find alternative premises. This is their last opportunity. This is the only site that it has found that is suitable and available to them.
“The demand for the services that PAWS offers is huge.
“Since lockdown, the demand has risen exponentially and PAWS is constantly turning people away, as they are not currently in position to assist them.
“During the 14 weeks from January until April 18, they received over 280 emails and 210 phone calls requesting their help.
“They are currently experiencing high volumes of calls (for a small charity) of eight calls a day and five emails (on average) requesting help with rehoming.
“This means from April to July, they received 720 phone calls/text messages and 450 emails. This is unprecedented.”
On the planning matters, it pleads: “The formation of hard surfaces and the access are limited to those required to provide the essential facilities and in the case of boundary treatments, to ensure the site is secure and that no animals can escape.
“They will not be unduly prominent or intrusive from public vantage points and will not cover a significant area. All are considered to preserve openness and would not conflict with the purposes of including land within the green belt.
“The stable block is in good structural condition and is clearly of permanent construction. Its re-use would not detract from openness. The use of part of the land as a dog exercise field for the dogs staying at the kennels and would not affect openness or conflict with the purposes of including land within the green belt.
“In this instance there are very clear and very real circumstances that are considered to be ‘very special.’”